Columbus is one of the fastest-growing large cities in the U.S. and its multifamily market shows it. Rents in Columbus were up 4.2 percent year-over-year as of June, well above the national rate and by far the fastest-growing major Midwestern metro. With the area boasting a low unemployment rate, as well as a rapidly growing population, housing demand has picked up considerably, leading to a second wind for development activity in the multifamily sector.
With all but one employment sector adding jobs over the 12 months ending in April, Columbus continues to strengthen its economic profile. Trade, transportation and utilities led improvement through that interval, adding 4,600 jobs. The city is improving and expanding its transit network even further by adding a new Bus Rapid Transit line, as well as using Department of Transportation funding to add electric buses, pushing its “smart city” bid.
Improvement has led to high demand levels, keeping development elevated in the process. With 1,600 units delivered through the year’s midpoint and 7,300 units underway, completions are lined up to have another solid year. With developers focusing on the more cost-effective high-end segment, working-class assets will carry the bulk of the load for rent growth. As a result, we expect 4.3 percent rent improvement in 2018.